The new outfit, Wild Bunch International (WBI), which is being set up as a subsidiary of Wild Bunch, will handle world distribution on French and foreign films. Its aim is to handle 20 to 30 films per year, according to documents filed at the Paris commercial court. WBI will pick up all of Wild Bunch’s sales business, including on library titles, even though the library will still be owned by Wild Bunch, a company rep told Variety.
In a statement, Wild Bunch said that the new setup would enable Wild Bunch to “expand its portfolio of film financing and sales activities, including working with third-party partners.”
“For our international sales department, this streamlined structure offers exciting growth prospects that will benefit the entire Wild Bunch family from both a creative and financial perspective,” said Vincent Grimond, Wild Bunch’s CEO. “These limited changes create an opportunity for the Wild Bunch Group to spread its international sales costs on a broader portfolio of films, generating a positive impact on its overhead costs.”
As WBI’s chief, Maraval will continue working alongside Eva Diederix, the head of international sales at Wild Bunch. WBI will be based at Wild Bunch’s headquarters in Paris. Wild Bunch will also handle WBI’s back office.
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“This reorganization will have nothing but a positive impact but positive on our willingness and ability to attract new talents and to support and promote creative ambition” Maraval said. He added that the launch of WBI “also comes from the desire of the international sales team to focus more on market changes and to diversify the services we want to offer talents and producers abroad.”
Wild Bunch does not currently have a capital stake in WBI, according to the Paris commercial court registry, but the Wild Bunch rep told Variety that the company intends to take a stake in WBI in the future. Maraval and Chioua set up the new company together and are currently the only two shareholders, with Maraval owning 85%. Like Maraval, Chioua remains a co-managing director of Wild Bunch.
Wild Bunch AG, the Frankfurt-listed parent company of Wild Bunch, recently completed its restructuring plan with SWB Finance B.V., a vehicle owned by Wild Bunch AG’s biggest German shareholder, Lars Windhorst. Keeping Maraval on board at Wild Bunch was one of the prerequisites for the deal with SWB Finance because Maraval was identified as a key asset to the company because of his relationship with filmmakers. As such, Maraval remains a shareholder and co-managing director of Wild Bunch.
CAA Media Finance, the independent financing arm of CAA, will continue to collaborate with Wild Bunch via WBI. CAA has long represented the U.S. rights to Wild Bunch titles and has also been working with Wild Bunch to source attractive local projects and producers as part of its international push. CAA has also been involved with IMR, the L.A.-based sales company that Maraval is running with Marc Butan and Kim Fox.
Recent Wild Bunch films include Ladj Ly’s Cannes Jury Prize-winner “Les Miserables”; Rebecca Zlotowski’s “An Easy Girl,” which received the Directors’ Fortnight SDAC Prize at Cannes; and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “Young Ahmed,” which received the best director award at Cannes.
Wild Bunch’s biggest shareholder as of today is ADS Securities, an Abu Dhabi-based financial services company linked to Windhorst, with an 8.91% stake. Grimond has an 8.59% stake. Maraval and Chioua have 3.18% and 6.76% stakes, respectively, and Windhorst has a 3.41% stake.